Ta’if roses have to hustle to survive in a hostile growing environment, high up on the plains of a rocky region near Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Mirroring its harsh environment, the Ta’if rose yields oil that is almost as extreme in its biting greenness and peppery spiciness. To complement its obstinate and proud character, Linda Pilkington chose to surround the rose with an array of exciting Arabian “flavors”, such as saffron and dates – the saffron adding a mysterious, iodine-like touch of leather, the dates adding a juicy sweetness that gives the texture a satisfying, toffee-like chew.
Ta’if is simply breathtaking. At first sharp and spicy with pepper, the rose note soon emerges in all its pushy, exotic beauty, like a Ta’if rose itself erupting through the rocky, arid soil of the Mecca plains. Later dusted heavily with bitter saffron and softened with a soapy freesia, the rose relaxes into a comfortable, peachy tone that is as unexpected as it is joyful. Orange blossom and dates add a fudgy sweetness that nudges the rose towards a Persian sweetmeat, giving the fragrance a jellied lokhoum feel. Ta’if is never thick or leaden in its exotic sweetness, however, because little wafts of gorse bush-like broom cut through the ambered heft of the base to provide lift and air. A pleasure to wear and smell, Ta’if is a gust of authentic desert air, full of spicy rose, orange blossom, and honeyed Arabian treats. Try it and be transported to another world.